This is an important update for all sellers (and potential sellers) on

First, the long-awaited OFF-LINE BULK-LISTING TOOL is ready to enter the beta test stage and for some of you to start using it on a trial basis. More on that in a moment. But first...

While we were setting up the pages necessary to handle the uploads from the off-line bulk-listing tool, we realized something: There was also a new ON-LINE function emerging! Our logic went like this:

One of the main reasons some people want to create their auction listings with an off-line tool is so that they can work on them at their leisure (and not be charged any listing fees) until they are happy with them and ready to upload them to the auction site. We can certainly understand that.

We suddenly realized we could provide our sellers with that kind capability without them having to go through the hassle and learning-curve of using the off-line bulk-listing too. So we did! When you log in to your account, you will now see a new link you can click called "Preliminary Auctions".

On the Preliminary Auctions page you will see another new link called "Create Preliminary Auction". You click that and will be presented with a form that is almost exactly like the regular auction posting form you are accustomed to using already. The difference is that when you click the "Save" button YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED any listing fees -- and the auction you have just created will NOT be made "live" at that time. Instead, it will be stored on your "Preliminary Auctions" page where you can continue to work on it as much as you want. Once you're happy with it and ready to make it a real, live auction, you just click the "Activate" link to, well, to activate it. You can create and store as many Preliminary Auctions on your "Preliminary Auctions" page as you wish.

When you click "Activate" on a Preliminary Auction you will be shown the regular auction posting form -- with all of your preliminary auction data already filled in. All you have to do is accept the default start and end dates -- or change them to whatever you want -- and then click the POST button to make the Preliminary Auction live on MPB (and only at that point will you be charged the appropriate listings fees).

There is also a "Rapid Activate" option which will allow you to bulk-activate a whole bunch of preliminary auctions simultaneously with the touch of a few buttons (up to 300 at one time!).

We believe this new feature could be very helpful for many sellers. If you think about it, it's like having an off-line bulk-listing tool -- but having it "on-line" so that you don't have to go through the upload steps (or learn how to use the off-line listing tool).

Give it a try and see what you think.

Now, as for the actual OFF-LINE BULK-LISTING TOOL -- This tool really is designed for those sellers who plan to list a whole lot of items and feel they really need something off-line to work with (including the ability to import and export their auction listings in the .csv format). It is, naturally, a little bit complicated to use and more work than most sellers really need -- particularly since we now have the "Preliminary Auctions" capability. But if you think you want to be a beta tester for the off-line bulk-listing tool, then go to the "Preliminary Auctions" page, click on "Upload My Auctions" and read the information there and then, if you qualify, click on the link to email us a request to become a beta tester. We will be getting together with those who register to be beta testers in a few days to go over the details.

Whatever you do, how about putting up some new auctions this coming weekend? Summer is coming and you want to catch people before they get into the full swing of things... leaving school, going on vacation, whatever. Now is the time to make a move and get your auctions in front of people!

-- JR